"To stain or mark"
Italians will order a Macchiato without defining what they mean. Here in America - in the land of big drinks with flavors, sprinkles and whipped cream it becomes a bit murky.
A macchiato in Italy would be a shot of espresso with a dollop of foamed milk in a small porcelain cup. Traditions are defined by where they emanate.
Starbucks knew a good sounding word - it's fun to say "Macchiato" - and applied it to a latte. Baristas went crazy as this threw tradition out the cafe door. However, it isn't wrong to make a Latte Macchiato. It just means it is a Caffe Latte marked or stained with something else. In the case of a Caramel Macchiato the white top of the Latte is marked with caramel (and of course the coffee is saturated with vanilla to make the teens happy)
It all comes down to what you like. A talented barista can make a drink the way you like it if you describe it and it may just be a traditional cafe drink, or be the next craze.
So, love your barista when you order a Macchiato and let them know if you want a Latte Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato.